Tag Archives: soup

The Afternoon Passes…

The afternoon slipped past as smoothly as the morning, though it was arguably less productive. All I did in the afternoon was to eat lunch and take a trip to Sheffield.

Lunch was slightly disappointing, so I’m not going to review it, except to say that if we ever need to stop for food in Chesterfield again I will ignore Frankie and Benny’s and go to Harvester instead. You get more flavour at Harvester, and free salad. I say “free”, though I concede this may not be totally accurate.

They have a big wheel in Chesterfield at the moment.  I’m sure it will be quite interesting to go on it and see the twisted spire close up if you can ignore the fact you are being taken for a trip in the sky in a device where costs and weight have been kept to a minimum. I really should have taken my camera, as it made an interesting sight.

We then carried on to Sheffield and dropped Number Two son off, along with two bags of healthy foodstuffs and the contents of my wallet. He’s been home for the weekend discussing his dissertation with Julia. He discussed the Rugby and the Superbowl with me. It’s probably for the best, as, though my grasp of sport is poor, it’s far better than my grasp of matters academic.

Tonight, being back to sensible eating, we will dine on soup. Julia has already prepared and packed the lunch salads for tomorrow. I foresee a dreary, though virtuous, few days.

A Day for Small Jobs

I started off by delivering Julia into servitude at 8.30 this morning. She’s not fond of Thursdays as she has to rush across town at 4pm to get from one job to another before finally being allowed home at 8pm.

Then I went to Newark. It was cold, business was non-existent and the tale of the last two weeks was one of cold, snow and poverty. After an exchange of cards, a cup of tea and a laugh about old times (there’s nothing to laugh about at the moment) I went browsing in W H Smiths looking for writing paper. I didn’t find any. The notes in my Christmas cards will, as a result, be written on paper torn from a spiral-bound notebook. To be fair, this is a more accurate reflection of me than smart writing paper.

A trip round Wilkos netted a tin of Vaseline lip-care products for Julia, a bucket of fat balls for the birds for £4 and a chicken and stuffing sandwich for £1. Yes, I know, I’m not supposed to be eating bread. However, as I’d already treated my self to a sausage and onion cob for breakfast I didn’t think a chicken sandwich was going to do too much extra damage, either to my waistline or my digestion.

From there it was a quick trip to the doctor to put in some prescription requests and on to TESCO for healthy veg and new gloves.

Resisting the urge to go home I visited the shop to drop off Christmas cards to my new colleagues (I’m such a creep) and helped with the delivery of two new cabinets for the new shop. It’s starting to take shape.

I then went home, supposedly to post on the blog but actually to engage in a variety of displacement activities, including sleeping in front of the TV, watching TV, checking ebay, picking Julia up from work, browsing the internet, writing notes to go in Christmas cards and warming up soup. I was tempted to say “cooking” but I’m pretty sure preparing soup and a sandwich isn’t cooking. We normally have something more substantial but after a day that saw us both deviating from our diets we thought we’d cut back a bit.

I even managed to do a bit of reading, having bought the Kindle edition of Maya and the Book of Everything by Laurie Graves. It’s going quite well so far. We’re right into the action and moving along nicely and there’s no boring stuff about chivalry or whales. She is therefore already ahead of Cervantes and Melville in my estimation. On the minus side there’s a definite lack of talking animals, though Sir John Oldcastle is about to make an appearance. I like Sir John.

 

 

Simple Cookery from a Simple Man

My soup recipe just got even lazier because TESCO are now doing vegetable packs specifically for soup, with everything cut small and mixed with onions and chilli. Add water, a stock cube and a hand blender and you have soup. I put garlic in this one too. And a few extra onions.

At this time of year our kitchen is so cold you can leave it in a pan on top of the cooker with no need to use the fridge. We’ve had it for tea once and I’ve had it for lunch three times. The rest will go in the vegetable curry tomorrow.

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Sweet potato, butternut squash, onion, garlic and chilli soup

We also had the lazy pie this week.

Chop leeks, celery, chicken, mushrooms and tarragon.

Soften the veg and brown the chicken, Stir in some flour and milk to make a sauce bit and bung it in a pie dish.  We had a gammon joint this week too, so I cubed some of it to make this a chicken and ham pie. This is optional.

Then unroll a sheet of ready-made puff pastry, cut off a bit about the size of the pie dish.

Argue about who had the pastry brush last.

Pour a little milk on top of the pie and rub it round lightly with your finger tips.

Add “pastry brush” to the shopping list.

Cook until it”s brown on top. This takes about 40 minutes if you put it in the oven cold but I really don’t see the point in heating up an empty oven first.

Serve with whatever veg you have. We had brussels and red cabbage (which I make in quantity and eat all week).  With hindsight I could have selected a less environmentally damaging combination. Think methane.

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Chicken Pie and vegetables – sorry about the smudge on the lens

I know ready-made pastry and “parachute pies” (ones with just a top and no bottom) are all frowned on on serious pie circles, but ask me if I’m bothered. It’s crispy, it’s flaky and it tastes good. You don’t need all that stuff underneath.

This cooking stuff really is quite simple. I can’t really see how so many people seem to be able to make a career out of it with TV and cookery books and  such. As for Delia Smith being made a Companion of Honour “for services to cookery”, well I am, for once, speechless…

Progress of Sorts…

Make chicken stew. It’s in the oven. Several hours late.

Soup? Er…just about to do it. Veg are ready but I need to wash a pan as I’ve been storing compost scraps in it for the last few days. Yes, I need to empty a bokashi bucket.

Curry. It won’t take long.

Living room – I’ve moved stuff round, which is related to tidying, though not closely related. More a cousin than a sibling.

Hoover. Perhaps tomorrow.

Meanwhile I have washed up and done the recycling, which I’d forgotten about. I often forget the washing up, though not as much as Number Two son, who is a world class amnesiac. Also watched darts and discussed the finer parts of sports marketing and sponsorship with Number Two son. Had bacon cobs with mushrooms for lunch.

Cut up plastic bottles to make poppies. (and give me an excuse to re-use old photos of poppies).

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Poppies made from plastic bottles

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Poppies and corn wreath

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Soups

I tried Mushroom and Tarragon soup last week. I really wanted to do Mushroom and Thyme because we’d enjoyed it while we were out a few months ago. However, our thyme has given up the ghost and the supermarket had none. It did, however, have tarragon, As I’d seen a recipe fot Mushroom and Tarragon Soup recently I thought I’d have a crack at that. The rest of the tarragon was earmaked for a chicken casserole next day.

Now, that was good as far as it went. There was a lack of ingredients when I got back to the house butit’s not the first time that ingenuity has had to replace missing ingrdients. Next time I try it I’m going to use this recipe, give or take a few bits. It looks quite simple. It’ll be onions rather than banana shallots and, unless I win the lottery, there won’t be any porcini powder or pink Himalayan salt.

The first attempt did not go well. Apart from the fact that ingenuity doesn’t taste as good as cream, there was the water problem. I usually fill the pan up with veg then pour in a kettle of water. I did this and then stopped to think. With hindsight, it might have been better to think first. It was a bit watery but not entirely bad. Nobody asked for a second helping.

I like to think I retrieved the situation with today’s soup. It’s the old stand-by – packets of ready-chopped squash and sweet potato, garlic, onion, chilli, stock cubes and water. This time I added curry powder for a more spicy flavour. It’s less orange than previous versions due to the curry powder. It’s a sort of khaki, but still reasonably attractive.

My mother, when she first bought a liquidiser, used to produce a greenish soup that always looked like it had been festering since the days of the dinosaurs. Once she moved on to root vegetables the soup seemed so much better.

The first bite, as they say, is taken with the eyes.

 

Lazy Soup

I never did get to make that soup yesterday. I was diverted by the need to stack the bokashi bucket and clean forgot. Next thing I knew, I had a sandwich in one hand and… a sandwich in the other. It was organic brown bread so I feel reasonably virtuous. Please notice that I’ve avoided the “balanced diet” joke. Well, side-stepped it rather than actually avoided it I suppose.

I did get round to it today though, and it worked out well. It’s a nicely seasoned brownish soup, partly due to the seasoning, which changes the colour from orange.

It’s easy and almost free of effort, hence the title.

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

Three bags of ready chopped Sweet Potato/Butternut Squash from TESCO. They are three for the price of two at the moment.

Half a pack of ready-chopped onions.

Three cloves of garlic. Chopped.

A piece of ginger about twice the size of the top of my thumb. Chopped.

Two organic vegetable stock cubes (they were on offer).

Two heaped teaspoons of cumin.

Water. How much water? Enough to cover and simmer. Maybe some to dilute.

Method

Soften the onions. I browned them by accident but it didn’t do any harm. Let#s face it, this isn’t Masterchef.

Throw in the rest of the stuff and add water.

Simmer for around 20 minutes.

Use stick blender to reduce to soup. Dilute to taste.

 

I meant to add a red chilli because I wanted to add some heat and some red flecks to the soup. Unfortunately I can’t find where Julia put the chillis when she stacked the shopping.

If you do it with chilli you can probably leave out the cumin, which will give you a much more orange soup, with more heat but less depth of flavour.

It’s so easy I should do it more often.

Normally I would chop my own veg, but a combination of knee and back pain means I can’t stand and cook for too long, At the moment quick is good, even if it does cost more.

Monday, Bloody Monday

I have mixed feelings about Mondays. Mainly I like them because they are a new start after the weekend, but I’m prepared to make an exception for today.

Last week I made an appointment with the doctor for 8.40, which is a good time for me as early appointments usually run to time. It’s also, with it being one of Julia’s days off, early enough not to impact on the rest of the day.

Good plan, apart from one thing. She swapped days this week. Not only that, but she was asked to take a cookery session. She was also told it had to be banana cake because that’s what the group wanted. Then she was told she would have to buy the ingredients and claim the cost back.

So, feeling guilty at not being able to deliver her to work, I had to drop her off at the bus station.

At that point one of the “bags for life” gave up the ghost on the pavement. Fortunately we had a replacement in the back of the car.

When I got to the doctor I was glad I had my book with me, as my theory on early appointment timing  proved to be inaccurate. However, I quite like reading, and wasn’t too bothered. I also managed to get out, after a review of my tablets, without gaining any extra ailments, which is always a bonus. I’ve even managed to reduce the number of tablets I take.

In TESCO, my pharmacy of choice these days, I was ambushed and asked to answer some questions on my medication. It wasn’t exactly a searching set of questions, so I suspect I’ve just become a tick in a box. I’m not even sure if I’m irritated by this or not.

Once back home I spent time looking for a set of A4 dividers marked with the months. I was positive I had a set, and even promised Julia I would …

I suppose you can guess the rest. The set I had in mind has 20 numbered dividers, which just aren’t going to do the year-planning job I had in mind.

Did I mention the broadband keeps going off?

And I forgot to buy yoghurt in TESCO.

I think that’s it. I’m making soup in a minute and from there the only way is up.